Saturday, March 30, 2024

Jonah Hex V2 #35 Nov  '08
"A Crude Offer"
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti - story, J.H.Williams III - art and cover

A huge posse of men, lead by Marshall Roth, careen down a wooded hillside when they are suddenly set upon by the Trevor gang in their hideout, armed with a Gatling Gun. Roth and his men are pinned down and Roth quickly asks Jonah Hex if he would like to double his money. Hex states that Roth has gotten into a bit of a pickle. Roth asks why Jonah says that and Jonah replies "Might be all the bullets and corpses."

Hex then quickly plinks the man working the Gatling Gun, but another thug takes his place and starts firing. Jonah says that killing them one at a time isn't going to work.

Interlude of a small field mouse.

Gunfire is exchanged again and Sy, the brother of Deputy Cort, is shot and dies in his brothers arms.

Interlude of the small mouse.

Hex tells Cort is brother is gone as we see a hawk circle overhead. An enraged Cort jumps up and starts firing, only to be quickly mowed down. Roth turns to the sound of pounding hooves.

Interlude of rattlesnake.

Hex comes riding down the hill, jumping over Roth and his men, rides over the barricade around the hideout and guns down most of the bandits. He takes over control of the Gatling Gun and proceeds to slaughter most of the remaining outlaws (much like Christmas with the Outlaws).

Interlude of hawk carrying away a rattlesnake.

Marshall Roth comes up to Hex in the bloody aftermath stating that was the bravest thing he ever seen. Hex comes back with "There ain't much of a' the world from behind a desk." Roth agrees and says that Dan Trevor and his brother got away, but Hex interrupts, saying that he wants his pay rather than listening to Roth ramble.Roth states the bank will be closed by the time they get to town and invites Hex to supper with Roth and his wife.

Some time later they arrive at Roth's house and meet Marcy, his wife. She is working on repairing the porch rail. She states she'll get washed up and get supper on the table.

During supper the talk is of the days adventure but Roth doesn't want to go into detail.Marcy asks why Hex is eating with his guns on and he mentions he normally eats at saloons with his back to the wall. Hex compliments Marcy on the meal and she thanks him, mentioning obviously that Jonah fought for the Confederacy. She asks if his family is down there and he replies that he can't very well say. She apologizes for prying and goes to get dessert. Marcy gets up to go get the pie anyway.

When she is gone, Roth says that Marcy is something else and Jonah agrees. Roth says that he would give Marcy anything at all and Jonah asks if he is in such a giving mood, how about giving Jonah his money? Roth sits in silence and finally reminds Hex the bank is closed until morning. Roth starts to ask a favor of Hex when Marcy comes back in with the pie.

With the pie finally finished, Roth and Hex retire to the porch to talk. Smokes alight, Roth recounts that Helena, his first wife, left him and married the blacksmith because she wanted children. Something she and Roth never had, but now Helena has three kids. The local doc says the problem must therefore be Roth. 

Silence from Hex.

Roth notes that once Hex gets his money, he will probably be on his way, to which Hex agrees. Roth continues with Marcy wanting a family and Roth notes that Hex has courage and strength and he is thinking...

Hex interrupts and says he sees where Roth is going and doesn't like that path. Roth says it wouldn't exactly be adultery, nor is Roth a pimp. Roth knows that Marcy loves him and would never run off with Hex and Jonah's appearance has a great hand in that. Jonah looks at his glass of whiskey and notes that something ain't right. He staggers and starts to fall.

Roth says in the morning he'll get Jonah's money, Hex will leave and nobody will know the child is Jonah's. Once Roth and Marcy know she is pregnant, they will pull up stakes and move on. Hex starts hallucinating, saying that Roth has poisoned him, but Roth assures him it ain't poison and will pass in a few hours. Marcy comes out and they take Hex's pistols. Jonah kicks Marcy off the porch while Roth tries to hold Hex down.

Marcy starts to straddle Hex as Jonah quickly grabs the dropped broken whiskey glass and buries it in Roth's leg. Marcy rushes Jonah and he punches her off the porch. Roth grabs for Jonah's pistols but Hex is quicker and even in his compromised state is enough of a danger for Roth to know he is beaten. Hex rides off, saying he'll be at the bank in the morning and Roth better think real hard as to why Hex ain't killed him....yet. Hex rides off into the night and throws up in the darkness.

Next morning finds Roth standing in the street outside the bank. Hex rides up and states "Money. Now"

Roth starts to respond but just hands over the cash. Hex starts riding down the street and notices a rifle aiming out a second floor window. He spots a shadow of a gunman in an alley. He stops as Roth calls out "Hex!", pulling a pistol on Hex.

Hex, his back to Roth, states "Yore none too bright, Marshall. I Reckon ya didn't think on it long enough." and Jonah slowly draws his left pistol. Roth says he has the drop on Jonah, but Hex responds with...

and then rides off. He snorts that Roth is gutless and Jonah had hoped Roth would have taken the shot.

Interlude of a hawk.

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed by Jonah - Wow, we see at least 10 but it is more likely 20. 
Running Total - 732 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 230 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - Drugged and almost raped.
Timeline - This one is just one day/night and the next morning. No indications of when it takes place.

First off, the story is great, the characterization of Roth and Marcy really resonate, with Roth appearing older and Marcy seeming to be several years younger and quite the looker. The interplay with the mouse/rattlesnake/hawk appears again during Jonah's hallucinations when he sees Roth as an attacking snake (inspired by the marshall's hatband). Roth, we thought was the mouse, a coward, but is really the conniving rattler. Jonah, the hawk, wins over any snake that comes his way. 

Williams artwork is fantastic, especially during the hallucinations caused by the drugged whiskey. There were several double-page spreads and in some cases his work reminded me of Tony DeZuniga. There was great use of sound as art, with the gunfire overpowering the scenes in some situations. I did have one gripe in that the manner in which Jonah had his pistol trained on Roth, while very cool to look at, would have been incredibly painful to Hex had he actually pulled the trigger. I imagine the recoil would have buried that pistol high into Jonah's right armpit.

But the biggest thing to talk about with this story is the lead-up. How Palmiotti and Gray had wanted the Marshall's last name to be Dent, rather than Roth, and for the rape to be successful, thereby putting Jonah Hex as a forefather to Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face. There was some back and forth, with P & G saying that DC wouldn't let them do the story. I, personally, was against the idea, and I'm very happy with how this story turned out, without the DC 'hook'. This one ends up being one of the upper tier stories of the run.

Next Issue - A rescue gone wrong, a misunderstanding, and the REAL reason Jonah wears the Grey.                                                            

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